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Franco Battiato - Clic CD (album) cover

CLIC

Franco Battiato

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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5 stars It's said Franco Battiato always gets really upset when somebody names Brian Eno in his presence. Listen to "Clic" and you'll understand why: this record is the perfect communion of ambient electronics, classical intrumentation and (sometimes) pure noisy cacophony. "I cancelli della memoria" starts the album in a gentle, subtle way (really close to some Bowie/ Eno experiments that would appear in "Low"... one year later), followed up by "No U Turn", with its bizarre reversed vocals, melancholy lyrics and that closing section where a waltz- like sequencer arrangement meets a female voice that i'll swear is Yma Sumac's. Bizarre but effective. "Il Mercato Degli Dei" and "Nel Cantiere D' Una Infanzia" stay into the same gentle style, while "Rien Ne Va Plus (Adagio)" and the closing "Etica Fon Ethika" are both approaches to "musique concrete": the first one is made out of sounds created by musicians themselves at the studio, the second being a confusing collage of radio fragments taken from different stages of Italy's recent History: folk songs, political speeches, news broadcasts and even the fascist hymn "Faccetta Nera" are mixed here. But "Clic" 's real highlight is "Propiedad Prohibida": it starts with an ominous synth drone soon replaced with a Tangerine- Dream like sequenced bass line, overlaid with string and wind arrangements that create an almost unearthly feeling of sadness. The perfect sound description of the "anni di piombo" ("lead years"), the ruinous period of political and social turmoil that shook Italy during the mid- late seventies, "Clic" is a really cold, cold record, detached and distant like a theorema.

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Send comments to Winterfamily (BETA) | Report this review (#52443)
Posted Thursday, October 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
micky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Before Battiato went flying into the sun of mininalist avant prog... he gave us this absolute classic of an album. A dense ambient electronic album with some avant sections that hint broadly on where he would be heading in the years down the road. This album was the culmiination of his early electronic period. The avant hints that were dropped in Sulle Corde di Aries are even more pronounced here, and possbily more fully realized. A incredible album. Not being particularly into the electronic side of prog I can't vouch for what Battiato did in comparison to others. In creativity or quality for that matter. All I know is what my ears tell me.. and they tell me that I love this album. That coming from a person who really isn't into elecronic.. or for that matter... particuarly avant music. What that says about the quality of the music... it's as always up to the listener. Check it out though.. the guys at work sat around today and listened to it.. and really dug it. Maybe it isn't just me after all hahaha.

The album opens with the celesital I Cancelli Della Memoria. The long opening is punctuated with saxophone with some rather earie piano. The pace picks up and with a repetive synth pattern underneath a elecric piano then fades to nothing. I was hooked upon the first listen of it and ready for what followed. With an album so against the grain of what are your normal listening habits.. that can make all the difference in whether you can enjoy.. or even continue to listen to an album. The same tone and style continues in the second song 'No U Turn' this time with Battiato's fabulous voice (though with the vocals recorded backwards). Il Mercato Degli Dei follows next with an extended accoustic piano intro. It fades away and the accoustic piano comes back with some etherial synths over top of it. Rien Ne Va Plus is next up. Here we have the first appearence on the album of the avant element of Battiato. Sounds of women laughing, footsteps, etc. are mixed with strings, Battiato speaking, Very much a sound collage of sorts.

A synth drone introduces the next song Propiedad Prohibida. A synth bass tone takes over with strings over top of it. A new synth rhythm takes shape about half way through that is an effective change of pace. Again the strings play over top of it. Nel Cantiere Di Un'infanzia follows and is much in the same vein as the first tracks.. eithereal, celestial and yet vaugely haunting at the same time. The album closes with Ethika Fon Ethica is another musical collage that is has nods to continental European classic music and arabic music.

A fascinating album and one that an openminded progger might find interesting. For me 4 stars... only thing keeping it from 5 was the absence of that 'wow' track like some of his albums had. For the site... 4 stars.. not quite essential but close. Check it out.. if the boys at work like it...it's a safe bet that if you are reading this review at PA's. You may like it as well.

Michael (aka micky)

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Send comments to micky (BETA) | Report this review (#123130)
Posted Tuesday, May 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
andrea
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars "Clic" is the first one of a series of albums that many people find almost impossible listening to... On this album there's no much room for rock and "to be progressive" here means most of all experimenting new sounds and effects... In this period Battiato became more and more involved in avant-garde and less and less interested in commercial feedback, almost "trying to destroy the ghosts of his past"...

The opener "I cancelli della memoria" is mysterious like a horror film soundtrack... "At the gates of the memory" a sax appears like a ghost before melt back giving room to an interesting rhythm pattern...

Experimental sounds introduce also "No U Turn", the only track on this album featuring lyrics and a "conventional" vocal part soaring "upon seas of irrationality"... In my opinion this is the best track on the album and it's the closest one to the sound of Battiato's previous works...

The third track, "Il mercato degli dei", is a minimalist piece where synthesizer and piano arpeggios draw an "ethereal atmosphere", while "Rien ne va plus: andante" is an experimental and almost self-ironic collage of classical music hints... Definitely unconventional but not completely convincing!

Another good track is "Propriedad prohibida", an interesting example of electronic music with a "spacey flavour" featuring strings and synthesizers... The last two tracks are frankly weak: "Nel cantiere di un'infanzia" in my opinion is a clumsy mix of experimental sounds and Mediterranean melody, while "Ethika fon ethika" is nothing but scattered sounds put together with the "collage" technique...

In the whole "Clic" is not an essential album, but it could be very interesting for fans and experimental music lovers...

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Send comments to andrea (BETA) | Report this review (#144543)
Posted Sunday, October 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars With this fourth album, FC takes things again a bit too far, this time in the hermetic direction. Exactly how can one veer from such perfec tion with his previous Aries album, to such impenetrable goo apposed on this slice of wax is beyond me. If I am a little harsh on this album, it is because of the contrast between the two, but also the many common points with its predecessor. This album will be the last one that can be attributed to his "group" as with following albums, both mainstays from Fetus, Mocchetti (guitars in general) and D'Adda will have left Battiato.

The best way to describe such an album would be an Ambient-Free-RIO, continuing the work started in the previous Aričs, indeed pushing it further, but in some ways making much less sense in terms of beauty of the music. The opening Memoria track has a superb jazz-rock & Riley (pardon the pun) electric piano part, but instead of capitalizing on it, Battiato veers into an improvised free jazz with No U Turn before returning to electric piano to end the piece, Its acoustic version occupies Mercato Degli Dei. On the flipside, the communist Propriedad Prohibida sounds like an excellent Tangerine Dream track, with the full works and a few discreet acoustic instruments to top it all off.

On the down side, Franco just imitates his previous great album and he seems to link senselessly parts of music together, gluing them arbitrarily (U Turn). There are moments that are relatively dumb and cringesome, like Rien Ne Va Plus or the extremely faint Cantiere or the dumb baroque collage pastiche of the closing track.

Starting with this album, but really taking off with the next album, Battiato will venture further in minimalism for the next few years, really expanding on what mentor Terry Riley did and will produce a string of hermetic album (who will wait a few more years before I'll see fit to review), before counter-plunging 180° into ugly pop crap in the 80's, therefore effectively always casting a shadow on the man's real aesthetics. In the meantime Clic simply didn't with me, and I can only urge you to start chronologically backwards from the Aries album towards the debut album. While still quite good per se, this one is only for minimalist freaks.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#152999)
Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Italian Prog Specialist
4 stars In some ways the natural follow-up to the great Sulle Corde di Aries, in some ways not, but the quality found on that album is just as prevalent on Clic. Instead of the organic, vibrant flow and exoticism found on tracks such as Sequenze e Frequenze, Clic's collection of songs are definitely more out there, with somewhat sterile Kosmiche elements and minimal electronic rhythms and melodies fusing into Battiato's most celestial and "intellectual" work so far. Powerful images of deep blue oceans, cold space and the inner workings of a clock all come to mind when you close your eyes and let the music guide you. Impressively, Battiato's music just becomes more and more emotive going through his discography up to this point, at the same time as it grows more and more enveloped and sterile. There's a confidence and fluidity in the compositions, or a sense of purpose that is lacking on his first two and one that was definitely there, but not as outspoken, on Sulle Corde di Aries. This drive forms a pattern in the otherwise floating compositional style and makes for a reflective, close to meditative listen, brutally taken down to earth by the return of the nostalgic jumps in time via sound clips of the most diverse sorts.

The choice of taking things down a notch musically, favouring care of every note instead of a lively, ever-changing soundscape, may not please everyone though, but as I see it, this marks the high point of Battiato's compositional skill. Every little ingredient matters, and really stands out on its own. It grabs you, guides you, and eventually brings you to unexpected musical climaxes where you enjoy the sudden bloom even more.

On a general scale, a lot of what you're going to hear on Clic is synthesisers and piano. The distant, towering and floating tones that kick off the album on I Cancelli della Memoria forms a mysterious foundation around which a contrastingly shrill saxophone can work at full effect. These synth runs often stay in the background, almost hazily, and just slowly changes along with the rest of the music. Add to this a minimalist piano and mesmerizing Krautrock-like guitar and experimental vocals, and you end up in a territory not far from Popol Vuh (or why not Tangerine Dream). The dry and artificial looped bass lines and scrambled pseudo-percussion shouldn't fit in, but it's impossible not to get dragged into its propulsive beat.

On the other hand, Clic can just as often be a spindly sound collage, enhancing the void rather than filling it out, only to grow into an up-close and personal vocal performance by the vocally chameleon-like Battiato. Crystal-clear, nimble melodies that all of a sudden transforms into a celebratory string section or a maze of whirling, overdubbed synth explorations.

It's hard to pinpoint a certain mood, since the focus constantly changes, and you get a feeling that is music by a contemplative observer rather than by an emotional perceiver. The borderline between new-agey Oldfield symphonic sensibilities, avant free-form, minimalism, and rich electronic droning is paper-thin. The last song, Ethika fon Ethica, is perhaps not even music. It's memory seen through a chance generator. As such, it's a fractured album, but that goes for most of his output anyway.

Perhaps not for everyone, but if this seems like an appealing melange, I don't think you'll find something better.

4 stars.

//LinusW

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Send comments to LinusW (BETA) | Report this review (#214270)
Posted Thursday, May 07, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars The fourth good album in a row from Franco Battiato. Just a pity the sleeve is so poor. Do you think Stevie Wonder was commissioned to put this one together?

It's more of the same electronic and vocal experimentation as we've come to expect from this Italian oddity of the early 70's. What's going on with that weird face of his anyway? He looks like a hooker lurking about a dark street corner with all that strange make-up on his face. In a funny way he reminds me of my granny in 1966.

I'm liking all the strings, piano and heavily treated vocals throughout the entirety of this album which is imaginatively entitled 'Clic'

This album is a bit more relaxed than its predecessors but just as adventurous and playful as his previous outings. There's radio snippets and strange vocals aplenty and also a guy blowing a horn from a Minaret. Thankfully he's kept the wonderful VCS3 machine on board which works wonders.

However, things are a bit more acoustic this time round and there's a fair bit of treated violin present. Definitely one of the easier to digest experimental prog albums from the earlier part of the 70's and pretty much recommended to the adventurous. It also contains the Italian National Anthem - my favourite of anthems.

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Send comments to Dobermensch (BETA) | Report this review (#443248)
Posted Thursday, May 05, 2011 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars This is the last album of the "progressive electronic" period of Franco Battiato. After this it will go into avant, later into commercial pop to finish into classic and opera....nice path isn't it?

Now this is a borderline album. Most of the tracks are still almost Krautrock, made of keyboard loops and repetitions, all of them remarkable. The link to early Pink Floyd of the previous album is vanished leaving only the Kraut and spacey parts, closer to TD than to PF, but there are also two tracks that are made of musical "collages".

Those two: "Rien Ne Va Plus" and the closer "Ethika for Ethica" are precursors of the kind of things that we'll find on his next album: just pieces of recordings from radio, tv, some studio stuff, loops and speech tied together to create a particular emotional state. Unfortunately they can have some interest for Italian listeners only, for the others they are just like some of Ron Geesin's works.

However this is a transition album still very good for Krautrockers but already into Avantgarde and minimalism. The last very good progressive one.

3 stars and half rounded up because my following ratings will be quite low.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#605941)
Posted Monday, January 09, 2012 | Review Permalink
HolyMoly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl and Canterbury Teams
4 stars This, the fourth album from Italian singer/composer Franco Battiato, continues the natural progression established by his first three albums, while pointing towards his future as well. Since discovering this artist a few months ago, I have been continually amazed at how consistently his albums just... resonate. Take any of the first four albums, give them a close listen, and I can almost guarantee you will not have heard anything like them before. As a fan of progressive rock for over 20 years, I really appreciate when I find an artist that genuinely can surprise me like Franco Battiato has.

Whereas the prior album, "Sulle Corde di Aries", was relatively easily identifiable as an electronic music album, "Clic" seems to jump all over the place -- sometimes it's purely electronic, sometimes there's an elaborate string section, sometimes it's tape experiments (e.g. the sped up crowd chanting "Block that kick! Hold That Line" on "Nel Cantiere Di Un'infanzia", reminding me of the end of Pink Floyd's "Fearless") , and sometimes it almost sounds like a relatively normal song. There's even a saxophone thrown in here now and then (e.g on "Propiedad Prohibida"), as there was on the prior album. The result of all this is that while this may be Battiato's most abstract, avant garde album to date, it might also be his most well-rounded and interesting. By not letting the listener jump to conclusions like "ah, so this is an electronic drone piece", or "ah, this is a sound effects piece", it keeps the listener guessing, yet the strange juxtapositions in style serve not to make the pieces more irritating, but rather more organic and human -- he is using his artistic instincts to make transitions and is free-associating in a way that makes sense, and which challenges the listener to take a ride on his wave of dream logic. That, I guess, is why this "Clic"s with me.

The final track, "Ethika fon Ethica", is almost entirely taken up with tape edits and sound effects, providing the listener with a preview of the style he'd explore further on his next album, "M. Elle le Gladiator". But for most prog fans, this album is usually as far off the deep end as they're willing to go. By its very experimental nature, and extreme risk taking, this falls well short of being a perfect album, but consider this a very strong 4/5.

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Send comments to HolyMoly (BETA) | Report this review (#801521)
Posted Tuesday, August 07, 2012 | Review Permalink

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